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Authority, Community & Identity

Religious as well as secular communities and individuals negotiate and maintain their identities in an increasingly plural public sphere. Large-scale modern processes of industrialization, urbanization, bureaucratization, and mass mobility have affected the internal dynamics of these communities as well as the ethics, interior spiritual life and worldview of individuals. In this context of shifting forms, expressions, and traditions of believing, behaving, and belonging, this working group will explore how Catholic, Muslim, and secular individuals are seeking, constructing, communicating and finding meaning, and the emerging forms and structures of religious authority.

What patterns of inclusion and exclusion do non-Muslims in Aceh experience? Read the full article »

In Indonesia, public religious observances and cultural festivals can foster broad grassroots social integration and peaceful coexistence. Read the full article »



The temporary inclusion of LGBTQ subjects in the national body involved the exclusion of Muslims through the discourse of the war on terror. Read the full article »


This moment presents both difficulties and opportunities for analyzing the intersections of Islamophobia and homophobia. By historicizing the emergence of each, we gain analytical clarity about the complex negotiations of identity, never static but always becoming. Read the full article »

Fear is a potent political motivator. Though the fear of others has long been used as a technology of power, the intersecting phobias of religious and secular others has a peculiar dynamic in late modernity. We seek proposals that balance an attention to historical specificity by disaggregating the unique ways that the dynamics of fear operate in particular cases while also theorizing these intersections generally, offering heuristic clarity to complex dynamics by looking comparatively across religious traditions, historical periods, or geographical cases. Read the full article »

How do religious and secular traditions approach and contest bioethical questions of human dignity and integrity? How can communities coexist peacefully in the wake of unprecedented migrations or in the ashes of intercommunal violence? We weave together the major themes of the CM Rome 2015 plenary conference in a synthetic account that brings to bear relevant scholarship and looks both back at CM’s research trajectory, as well as forward to the future research and outreach agenda of the CM initiative. Read the full article »